Saturday, May 27, 2017

Discipline vs Guidance

Discipline is a phrase that indicates enforcement of positive behavior through strict guidelines and control and is usually connected to punishment and rewards. Discipline is based on the expectation that children should have prior knowledge of acceptable behavior and punishment should occur if they don't follow the rules. Discipline, however, can be used in a different sense. Discipline can be used with a meaning that is more closely related to positive discipline which is guidance.

Guidance is probably the most common phrase defining what is expected of those who care for and teach children. When parents guide children, they show them how to behave appropriately through direction, suggestion, improvement and modeling. Ideas for appropriate guidance techniques are: observe when children are being good and express gladness when they've participated in appropriate behavior. For example, when a child is upset they had to come home from playing at a friends house because they were having fun, and the child come home anyway- a parent can express their gladness that the child came home anyway by saying, "I know you were having a lot of fun at your friends house. Thank you for coming home when I asked so I didn't have to get mad at you. I appreciate it.

A parent models acceptance, patience, courtesy, helpfulness and is sensitive  and supportive of children who are less experienced with emotional regulation or have specific behavior challenges. For example, when a child wants to pour the milk into their cereal bowl, accept that they want to try it and let them. Be patient with them while they try and help them by holding the bottom of if so the can turn it all the way over in order for it to pour out while maintaining control of the milk jug.

A third technique for appropriate guidance can be shown when children show pride in doing a task. A parent can join in with the child in being proud of them. A parent can use, use facial expressions and an acceptance voice to build a sense of acceptance and trust that they're there to support and understand a child's development of autonomy. Another technique parents can use to provide appropriate guidance is to tell children what you want them to do. "I want you to speak kindly to me please." A fifth technique is to physically hold a child who is out of control. This will help calm them and relax their bodies and allow them to give in to any emotion they may be feeling. An example of this is when a child is screaming and sometimes throwing things. Pick the child up, hold them close to your body and don't let go until they've exhausted all of the emotion they're feeling.

Holding a child when they're out of control works with most children, however, there are some children where it makes things worse. When dealing with a child whose upset but doesn't want to be touched respect that and stay where you can see what the child is doing so they don't cause harm to themselves or others and stay close enough to see what they're doing until they calm down. They will usually then come to you when they've calmed down and are ready for interaction again.

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